August 27, 2015
It’s not often you get Republicans, Democrats, the EPA, the Environmental Council, and the Illinois Chamber in the same room, praising a piece of legislation. But, that’s exactly what happened this week when the Governor signed Senate Bill 1672 into law. This law is a big deal for boosting Illinois’ economy and encouraging job creators to come to Illinois. I was pleased to sponsor the legislation in the Senate.
While the legislation is technical in nature and maybe be hard to understand, it’s great news for Illinois and great news for our district, as the Energy and Chemical Corridor of America. Under this legislation, Illinois companies seeking an air permit will be able to get it directly from the state, instead of going through the federal government. Rezin said all too often in the past the federal government took so long to respond that it left job creators not only frustrated, but put Illinois at a disadvantage when trying to recruit businesses to the state.
This legislation is a perfect example of good bi-partisan cooperation and compromise that will help our business climate and boost Illinois’ economy. Our manufacturers are often times living and dying with the current permitting process, because they don’t know when they will get an answer to their application. This new law changes that in a positive way. It’s great news for Illinois and great news for my district, as the Energy and Chemical Corridor of America.
This legislation will now give these companies certainty in the permitting process, because within one year they will have an answer to their permit application from the state. That will go a long way in helping our manufacturers create jobs and boost our economy.
The Illinois Chamber says Senate Bill 1672 is one of the very few pro-growth business reforms passed by the General Assembly this year, and the most substantial environmental policy change in Illinois in more than a decade. The ability to receive an air permit is a ‘go/no go’ factor for new plant construction or major expansions of existing facilities, making the permitting process a vital economic development issue. Senate Bill 1672 puts Illinois on a level playing field to compete for new businesses and vital business expansions.
So, this is a major pro-jobs, pro-growth law. It’s a great first step in turning our state around!
I hope you have a great weekend!
State Sen. Sue Rezin
Top two: Sue joins the Governor and all the groups involved during the signing of SB1672.
Bottom two: Sue hosts a press conference in Springfield regarding SB 1672.
Around the District
Top two: With my family in Albany, IL.
My family is from the area and my Grandpa Schipper and Uncle Leroy (who have both have passed away) were longtime members of the Albany Fire department.
My brother, Jim Schipper, and mydad, Ken Schipper, worked to renovate the tractors that her family is seen on in these pictures. Growing up on a farm, I had Allis Chalmer tractors. Love these!
Next: Taking a beautiful bike ride in the Grundy County countryside!
Next: Thanks to DNR Director Wayne Rosenthal for coming to Starved Rock for our Round Table Discussion of state parks and natural resources.
Next: Giving a legislative and budget update to our credit unions.
Next: Shocked! Honored to receive the Woman of Distinction Award from Illinois Valley Magazine Living magazine!
Senate Week in Review: August 24-28, 2015
Springfield, IL – As state government’s budget impasse continues eight weeks into the 2016 fiscal year, State Sen. Sue Rezin said the latest unemployment figures and economic assessment supports the Rauner Administration’s push for a better business climate as part of a budget deal with the legislative majority.
The budget impasse between the administration and Democrat majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives leaves Illinois government running mostly by court-imposed orders and agreements. Only state education spending and federal funding for programs have received legislative approval and were signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Sen. Rezin said at the root of the budget impasse is years of fiscal mismanagement that left Illinois with few resources.
Illinois Job Growth Lags Nation
The latest report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) shows the state ended July with an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent in June. Illinois also gained about 1,900 nonfarm payroll jobs, but job growth continues to trail behind other states. IDES Director Jeff Mays said if Illinois employment growth had matched the rest of the nation this year, “Illinois would have added 40,000 more jobs by now.”
That trend was confirmed by a corresponding report from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). According to the DOL, Illinois’s rate of job growth in the past year was both slower than surrounding states and last among neighboring states in per-capita job growth. So, while the report shows that Illinois gained 50,000 jobs over the past year, our neighboring state Indiana gained 64,000 – almost 30% more – despite having only half the population.
“F” doesn’t mean “Friendly” for small businesses
According to an annual survey released this month, Illinois gets an “F” on its small-businesses report card. The fourth annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey, which polls nearly 18,000 small business owners across the country, gave Illinois its worst possible grade, tied with three other states: California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Each of our neighboring states made out much better, ranging from a “C+” (Iowa and Kentucky) to a high of “B+” (Indiana).
Another report on Illinois’ economy indicates that thousands of Illinoisans found job opportunities, in other states. The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), a public policy think tank, cites figures from the Internal Revenue Service. IPI reports, “…in 2012, Illinois lost more taxpayers and taxpayer wealth to a greater number of states than ever before.” The Institute’s analysis indicates that nearly 67,000 taxpayers and their dependents left Illinois taking with them $3.7 billion in annual income.
The reports are among many revealed in recent years and months that bolster the claim that Illinois must do more to improve its business/jobs climate. Numerous reforms to ease state regulations and lower the cost of hiring were proposed by Republican lawmakers in recent years and in 2015. The year began with hope that a new governor, elected on an argument that change was needed, would usher in a revitalized Illinois economy; however, most of the proposed changes ran into partisan opposition.
The World’s Best Schools Are in Illinois
One bright spot for Illinois’ future remains its institutions of higher learning. Illinois universities and colleges are among the best in the nation and the world, according to one newly-released report.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities recently released its annual rankings of the world’s top schools. The University of Chicago, Northwestern University in Evanston and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were named to the list. The three schools achieved at least one Top 20 ranking in subject areas that included, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences, Life and Agriculture Sciences, Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy, and Social Sciences.
Other legislative action
GovernorRauner took action on a number of bills during the week. A complete list is available on the Senate Action pageof the Senate Republican Caucus Web site.
Disaster Recovery Assistance #2
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted the state’s request for official disaster designation covering 101 of Illinois’ 102 counties, resulting from the damage caused by heavy rainfall and flooding earlier this summer. Now, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is making federal economic injury disaster loans available.
The disaster loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and private nonprofit organizations. The SBA can be contacted for applications and more information at 1-800-659-2955. Information about the Agriculture Disaster Declaration can still be obtained through county Farm Service Agency offices.
Farmers prepare for harvest
With both corn and soybean crops nearing maturity, farmers are prepping their combines to get ready for harvest 2015.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 88 percent of soybean plants have already set pods, with 55 percent of corn having reached the dent stage, and 3 percent of corn considered fully mature. Last week the state saw an average of 1.39 inches of rain, seven-tenths of an inch above normal, leaving 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Farmers continued to make progress baling hay, with 78 percent of the third cutting now complete, up from just 59 percent last week.
The Department reports crop quality is holding steady, with 56 percent of corn rated as good or excellent, and 52 percent of soybeans achieving similar grades. Heavy rains during May and June are still impacting many fields, including some that were completely flooded out. Due to plant biology, the actual damage to the corn from water was similar to what happens during a drought. Click here to learn more about the impact of heavy rainfall on this year’s crops: http://youtu.be/hC-3U54V0qM
Keeping Drunk Drivers Off the Road
Repeat drunk drivers will be required to install breath-checking ignition interlock devices in cars under legislation signed into law by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.
Senate Bill 627, sponsored by Republican State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), prohibits any driver with two or more DUI convictions from operating a vehicle unless an ignition interlock device is installed. The breathalyzer equipment connects to a vehicle’s ignition and requires the driver to exhale into the device. If the breath-alcohol concentration is determined to be beyond the programmed state’s legal limit, the vehicle’s engine cannot be started. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Red-light Camera Scandal
Chicago’s red-light camera scandal that cost Illinoisans millions of dollars recently scored its second major conviction. On Aug. 20, 2015, a former executive for Redflex Traffic System Inc., Karen Finley, plead guilty to helping orchestrate a $2 million plan to bribe one of Chicago’s top transportation officials. The bribe involved a scheme to award the Arizona-based company the city’s red-light camera contracts. John Bills oversaw the awarding of contracts for the installation and operation of the red-light camera system. Bills’ trial is scheduled for Jan. 2016.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Bills was coerced by Martin O’Malley, Finley’s hired accomplice who was convicted last December for his involvement. The latest conviction underscores the ethical and effectiveness issues surrounding Illinois’ controversial red-light camera program raised by many Senate Republicans for years. Improving driver and pedestrian safety was the reason city officials justified the installation of red-light cameras in 2003. However, there is little evidence or research to prove that red-light cameras reduce the number of traffic light-related accidents.
After years of failed efforts to shut down the red-light program in Chicago and surrounding suburbs, two Senate Republicans sponsored legislation this spring prohibiting non-home rule units in the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry and St. Clair from enacting or enforcing existing automated red light camera systems. House Bill 173 passed the House, but failed to advance in the Senate.
Yes, please periodically send me e-mail updates.*
*By subscribing to my
e-mail updates, you are authorizing me to send regular e-mail updates from my office to your e-mail account.